This homecoming weekend, Goshen College will be putting on the one-act play “A Comedy Renaissance (Un renacimiento de la comedia).”The show is co-directed by Amy Budd, assistant professor of theater, and Cristóbal Garza González, associate professor of Spanish. It seeks to bring the Spanish language, Spanish speakers and diaspora traditions to GC’s stage.
It was important to Budd to make this incorporation as organic as possible.
“There’s not a clear way forward — or an industry best practice — for me as a white woman within an HSI, doing this work,” she said. “I thought: ‘what’s the next step to take this further?’ And that was to figure out how to do something … bilingual, connected to theater history and manageable in size and scope.”
For this collaboration, Garza González brought forward the idea of an “entremés,” (literally “appetizer”) which is a comedic one-act play originating from Spain. Budd said she was looking for a short performance that was going to be funny and connect with contemporary audiences, despite being an older play.
The show, like most Renaissance comedies, is centered on a normal person. In this production, the main character is a beautiful, intelligent maid who is working for a wealthy family and has both a clergyman and a soldier head over heels for her.
“People are going to have to come out to see what kind of hijinks ensue and see who wins her heart,” Budd said.
Cast members Jocsan Barahona Rosales and Irish Cortez spoke to the importance of this being a bilingual performance, especially as an opportunity to draw in a wider audience of Spanish speakers.
“The bilingual aspect makes it more of a shared experience,” Barahona Rosales said, contrasting it to the typical play at GC which he described as “usually just one-sided English.”
Cortez further emphasized this, saying, “It opens the door so we can all enjoy this art.”
Despite half of the show being in Spanish and the other half being in English, the performers will behave as if there is no language switch or barrier. The directors hope that through physical acting the whole story will be clearly communicated to everyone.
“You might only catch half the words,” Budd said, “but we think you will probably get the whole thing and have a lot of laughs along the way.”
In terms of long-term goals, Budd said she hopes “to build up the Spanish language and Latino identity on the stage.”
The show will take place at Umble Center on Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are free for students and staff.